Progressive Jackpots Overview

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Kia ora Kiwi punters! Okay, we're here to talk about progressive jackpots — so let's get this out of the way — yes, "progressive jackpot" sounds a bit weird and confusing. But for now, all you need to know is that progressive jackpots give out the biggest wins you can find online — we are talking legitimate, huge amounts of money in the tens of millions of dollars.

And this isn't just for people overseas either — progressive jackpots can be won by any Tom, Dick, or Harry in little old New Zealand, and it's all completely legal and legit to play across the best online casinos. Think of it like the lotto, but with more money, and you get to play pokies at the same time!

Let's take a look at what a progressive jackpot is, how it works, and how you can find a progressive jackpot slots game that suits you down to a tee.

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What is a Progressive Jackpot?

To put it into simple terms, a progressive jackpot is where a small percentage of each bet on a progressive pokies game goes towards a larger jackpot. That's where the word "progressive" comes into play, as the jackpot gets progressively bigger with each bet until someone wins the jackpot. You can win progressive jackpot pokies randomly, or get to a special bonus game within the game you are playing.

How Do Progressive Jackpot Games Work?

Let's go into a little bit more detail about how progressive jackpot games work. Progressive jackpots are in special progressive jackpot pokies, so it's not just on any old pokies game. Sometimes you have to hunt them out, but they aren't too hard to find.

So every time you make a bet on a progressive jackpot pokies game (let’s say in this case Age of the Gods by Playtech), a little bit of your bet gets added to the jackpot. This means that when you've got hundreds of thousands of players adding to this jackpot, that jackpot grows and grows with every bet, every hour, every day. The longer it goes unclaimed, the bigger it gets. It's kind of like a balloon that gets bigger and bigger, until it bursts and rains astronomical amounts of money down.

The progressive jackpot can actually come from multiple progressive pokies games, and then be combined into one jackpot. You could be playing any number of particular games that are actually adding to the same jackpot. The jackpot sum is sometimes called the "meter".

Beyond that, the progressive jackpot can also be spread across multiple online casinos, so the pool of players adding to the jackpot can be mind-blowing.

Once someone wins the progressive jackpot, the jackpot resets (or "seeds"), and will go back to the beginning jackpot amount. This amount can vary, but the top progressive jackpots reset to $1 million. Not bad huh?

Progressive Jackpot Win Mechanics

Before we get started, if you didn't know, mechanics just means how something works. We're not looking to fix your car here; we're just showing you how progressive jackpots work beneath the surface layer.

Okay, so after you have a spin on the reels, a set of random numbers is chosen. If that set of numbers matches the algorithm that the software developers have pre-selected, the jackpot will be triggered, and you win.

So what are the different ways you can win a progressive jackpot?

Winning a Jackpot at Random

  • This is the simplest way of winning a progressive jackpot. This means you don't have to qualify for any bonus games or hit any special symbols on the game.

Play the Maximum Stake

  • While it's not impossible to win a progressive jackpot pokies game with a small bet, some progressive pokies will only let you win if you play the biggest bet possible. Not ideal, but we are talking millions of dollars here, after all.
  • The idea is that the more high-stake bets you make, the more "tickets" the game will award you. If your tickets match the algorithm's number, you're in business.

Playing a Bonus Game

  • Most progressive pokies at the best online pokie sites will let you enter into a special bonus game that is within the game that you are playing. The game itself will vary, but will usually be something like picking a card or spinning a wheel. Whatever that game is, if you win it, you're in the progressive jackpot money!

Hitting Symbol Combinations

  • To win the progressive jackpot this way, you need to hit a really specific combination of symbols on your reels. For example, this might be lining up 5 of the game's special symbols on the 7th pay line. It will vary from game to game, but it will still be a specific and rare combination.

Must-Drop Jackpots

  • This is where a progressive jackpot must be won by a certain time or date. So as you can imagine, when that deadline approaches, a ton of people will be playing the game at the same time, and that jackpot will grow very quickly towards the end.

Random Number Generators

  • A random number generator (RNG) is the thing that makes sure that every spin and every game is random and fair. This is required by NZ gambling laws, and so, all pokies are ruled by RNGs.
  • So unless there is a must-drop jackpot deadline, don't assume that a progressive jackpot "must be won" at any particular time. It will be random, and when you least expect it!

How Big Can Progressive Jackpots Get?

Honestly? Progressive jackpots can get up to sums that will have you feeling very comfortable about your future. When you think about it, unless it has a must-drop date, progressive jackpots are only limited by how many people are playing them. And the bigger they get, the more people play them, so they get even bigger!

The biggest win that we could find was a player from Belgium who won over 19 million Euros or about NZ$31 million. Most progressive jackpots are at least around NZ$5 million dollars, so either way, if you win one, your life is changed forever.

For reference, even though that number is bonkers, it still doesn't come close to what a software engineer won playing IGT's Megabucks pokies at the Excalibur in Las Vegas — about NZ$77 million! Oh, and he won that on a $5 spin!

Back to online progressive jackpots though — the fact that these sums are being won on glorified pokies games is bananas, but you have the magic of the internet to thank for that. And just to hammer it home, you don't need to be from Belgium or some other far-flung country — Kiwis are just as likely to win these jackpots as anyone else.

Think of it as an international lottery, way bigger than NZ's lotto, and you can enter it and have the chance to be set for life, just by playing the pokies.

Finding Progressive Jackpots

Finding progressive slots doesn't need to be too hard. Almost all of the pokies sites will organise their games by type, so just look for the progressive slots section. If they don't have a dedicated section for progressive slots, look for the jackpot section, and just look for the biggest jackpots. If they are over $100k, it's likely that it's a progressive jackpot.

Most casinos will also show the jackpot meter for their progressive jackpot games, so you'll be able to keep track of the ones running hot, as well as any that have a deadline to win. Some casinos will also show the biggest winners from that day or week.

If you really want the secret sauce, check out our exclusive guide to progressive jackpots. In it, we cover the best casinos for progressive jackpots, as well as reviews for the best progressive pokies. Oh, and you might even find a few cheeky promo codes that will give you a bonus when you sign up and deposit with one of our recommended online casinos.

Types of Progressive Jackpots

But wait, there's more! Not only are there multiple ways to win a progressive jackpot, but there are also multiple types of progressive jackpots! Here are the main ones to keep an eye out for. These are really just for brick-and-mortar casinos, but some of the basic ideas translate to online casinos as well.

Standalone Jackpots

This is where the progressive jackpot is only on the machine you are playing. It's not linked to anything else, and so only one player can add to the jackpot at any one time.

Local Jackpots

A local jackpot is also sometimes known as an "in house jackpot", and they are within a group of pokie machines inside on single casino. They might be all lined up next to each other or spread out across the whole casino — but either way, they are connected to each other by the same algorithm we talked about earlier.

The local jackpot might also be spread across different types of pokies, and you'll figure that out pretty quickly just by looking at the jackpot amount.

Network Progressive Slots

Network progressive slots are where the real money happens because you have the largest number of machines, games, and players combined to create the biggest progressive jackpots.

Just like the lotto, because there are more players, it means that your chances of winning are smaller — but that also means the possible jackpot is much, much, bigger!

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Chances of Winning a Progressive Jackpot

There's no such thing as a sure thing, and that's doubly true when you're talking about jackpots in the millions of dollars. When you're looking to win a six or seven-figure progressive slots, your odds of winning are in the millions to one range.

Mega Moolah, for example, one of the more famous progressive slots games, has chances of winning up to 50 million to one. Ouch!

It's not pretty, but when there is that much money up for grabs, it makes sense. Again, think of it as an international lottery, but in the form of pokies.

In our mind, that's a pretty fun way to try and win millions of dollars!

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